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Old 03-11-2011, 03:07 PM   #1
yeraboof
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Cleaning brake pistons

How do YOU do it? I'm doing it right now, and it's a PITA. Mine are dirtier than *insert dirty thing here*, and its proving difficult. And how do y'all get the pistons back in?
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Old 03-11-2011, 03:21 PM   #2
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Use air compressor with rubber tip and force them out with air through the threaded hole the banjo bolt goes in to.

To reinstall them should be really easy after you clean them up. Make sure you take great care of the o-rings as you remove and clean them too. Reinstalling the orings takes care as well when you reinstall the pistons.

Make sure you're also using fluids that will properly clean the orings and not destroy them (don't use Varsol for instance).
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Old 03-11-2011, 03:31 PM   #3
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Oh ... that's a little beyond me without more preparation. I don't have an air compressor. And I'm not taking the calipers apart. All I did was take off the brake pads, pump the brakes a little to get them out, and cleaning them that way. But I can't clean the hard to get to places, and can't seem to get the pistons to retract.

I really appreciate your input. I'm just now starting to kind of teach myself all sorts of basic bike stuff by just doing it, the service manual, and using google.
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Old 03-11-2011, 03:32 PM   #4
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c clamp will get them back in
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Old 03-11-2011, 03:46 PM   #5
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Don't have a c-clamp. I recently replaced the brake lines with steel-braided ones, and changed the pads yesterday. I did some research after doing the pads and discovered that I need to clean everything. I found a helpful video that made it look easy, but never actually showed how to compress the pistons. I thought this would be a relatively easy process.

Any other suggestions?

Here's the second part of that vid:

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Old 03-11-2011, 03:50 PM   #6
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He did it by hand. Quit being a puss.
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Old 03-11-2011, 03:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
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He did it by hand. Quit being a puss.
My thoughts exactly...

He must have had nothing but air in the lines. He was talking about how that's going to be his race bike, but he's got stock lines on there... So I'm guessing he's about to change those for another vid.
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Old 03-11-2011, 04:58 PM   #8
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I have a piston expander clamp that I bought at autoparts store for 10 bucks, just put the pads in and insert it, and twist it out to compress the pistons all the way, you could also get a long screwdriver or something similar and compress them.
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Old 03-11-2011, 05:20 PM   #9
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I replaced the seals in my 07 GSXR calipers in a little over an hour. VERY easy.
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Old 03-11-2011, 05:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
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I have a piston expander clamp that I bought at autoparts store for 10 bucks, just put the pads in and insert it, and twist it out to compress the pistons all the way, you could also get a long screwdriver or something similar and compress them.
Went to go check it out... won't work. The other half of the caliper is in the way. I decided to just take the thing apart.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronP220 View Post
I replaced the seals in my 07 GSXR calipers in a little over an hour. VERY easy.
I have to admit, sometimes I'm just as helpful in these kinds of threads.

Taking it apart is relatively easy, so is putting it together. What I want to know is how to compress the pistons without taking the caliper apart. I just bled the lines a week or so ago, and now I have to do it again .
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Old 03-11-2011, 06:39 PM   #11
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C-clamps are cheap. Go to the auto parts store and buy one.
Then just put it around the caliper so that one side contacts the back of the caliper, the other side presses on the piston. Do not use the new brake pads to press against.
Gently tighten the c-clamp until the piston is all the way in and your done...
Do the other side the same way.
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Old 03-11-2011, 06:55 PM   #12
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Old 03-11-2011, 08:16 PM   #13
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Old 03-11-2011, 08:46 PM   #14
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Ok, that makes sense. There was definitely room to get my fingers in there, but not a snowman's chance in that I could compress them. I even used a pair of 460 Channel-locks with an old brake pad with no luck. I do have a bleeder tube/bottle, so I'll have to try that next time.

I'm assuming one main reason I had so much trouble was likely due to how filthy everything was. I'll make sure to do this more regularly, especially since I ride it a lot.

Thanks Grinchy!
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Old 03-12-2011, 01:43 AM   #15
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Remove the cover on the reservoir, and SLOWLY push the pistons back in.... the diaphragm in the reservoir is holding pressure against the fluid returning.
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Old 03-12-2011, 07:44 AM   #16
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Are these like car brake pistons? Crack the bleeder screw and push piston in.
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Old 03-12-2011, 08:17 AM   #17
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Quote:
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Ok, that makes sense. There was definitely room to get my fingers in there, but not a snowman's chance in that I could compress them. I even used a pair of 460 Channel-locks with an old brake pad with no luck. I do have a bleeder tube/bottle, so I'll have to try that next time.

I'm assuming one main reason I had so much trouble was likely due to how filthy everything was. I'll make sure to do this more regularly, especially since I ride it a lot.

Thanks Grinchy!
No problem,
when inserting the pistons try rocking them gently from side to side as you push/pull down. If they're not true it can feel like they're stuck.

Biggest problem I've seen is that when people (inc some dealers) replace the pads they just ram the pistons back into the caliper and into the the seals taking no time to remove the street build up that occurs on the pistons over time. The dust seal is the first to suffer and this then becomes dislodged jamming up the smooth action of the piston movement.
The recess the dust seal sits in then becomes filled with debris etc etc.
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Old 03-12-2011, 08:20 AM   #18
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Quote:
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Are these like car brake pistons? Crack the bleeder screw and push piston in.
the dynamics are much the same but bike pistons are more fragile and generally don't have a rubber boot protecting the pistons from the elements.
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Old 03-12-2011, 09:43 AM   #19
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Somebody should invent a tool to do this job. Something cheap and easy to use.

I'd do it but I got a lot of video games to play...
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:24 AM   #20
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I did mine a few weeks ago..wasn't too bad. Once you get the piston started, it's easy to push it back into the caliper by hand.

, I love maintenance on bikes...$70 EBC HH pads, a 10mm socket, brake cleaner and 10 minutes is all it took.
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